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Absa House Price Indices - April 2011
Absa - South Africa
Home values came under further pressure in April
Home values in the small, medium-sized and large categories of housing in South Africa for which Absa approved mortgage finance (see explanatory notes), experienced some further strain in April 2011 on a year-on-year basis. However, some marginal nominal growth occurred on a monthly basis in April in each of the abovementioned segments. In the first four months of 2011, average nominal year-on-year price growth was still positive in the three categories of housing compared with a year ago.

In real terms, home values dropped further in all three segments in March 2011 on the back of headline consumer price inflation rising to 4,1% year-on-year (y/y) in the month from 3,7% y/y in February. In the period January to March this year, real price declines occurred in the three categories compared with the corresponding period in 2010.

The segment for small houses (80m²-141m²) recorded a nominal year-on-year price drop of 3,5% in April 2011 (-1,2% in March). The average price of a small house came to about R766 300 in April. In real terms prices were down by 5,1% y/y in this segment of the market in March this year.

The average nominal value of medium-sized homes (141m²-220m²) declined by a marginal 0,1% y/y in April 2011, after rising by only 0,1% y/y in the preceding month. This brought the price of a medium-sized house to about R972 900 in April. A real price decline of 3,9% y/y occurred in this category of housing in March 2011.

In the category of large houses (221m²-400m²) nominal year-on-year price growth slowed down to 2% in April from 2,5% in March. The average price of a large house was recorded at around R1 489 700 in April. March this year saw an average real price decline of 1,8% y/y in the large segment.
Absa April Indices

Top realtor accuses competitors of smear campaign.
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
JOHANNESBURG - Quentin Brown, the former director of Constantia Sectional Title Management (CSTM), believes his competitors are behind the anonymous "whistleblowers" report sent to the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) which accused CSTM of a number of irregularities including the misuse of trust monies.

On March 17 the EAAB received an anonymous report on CSTM containing serious allegations. Based on this the EAAB appointed Pasco Risk Management, to conduct a preliminary inspection at the premises of CSTM on March 23, in Roodepoort. The regulator also sought to interdict Brown on April 20 in an urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court from acting as an estate agent or operating a trust account in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act.

In his court papers, Brown alleged that the previous owners of CSTM Marianne Poole-Andrews, who held 70% of the company and her daughter Liezle Brussow (30%) including her husband Ludwige Brussouw tipped off the EAAB.
Real Estate Web

Conveyancing Association welcomes CML focus on fraud
Mortgage Strategy - UK
The Conveyancing Association has welcomed the Council of Mortgage Lenders' focus on tackling mortgage fraud and conveyancer negligence in its annual report.

Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the CA, says the CML is right to have mounting concerns about fraud given the rising figures, and it is up to individual conveyancing firms to ensure they raise their standards and ultimately improve the reputation of the industry.

He says the CA fully shares the CML's sentiments on mortgage fraud and will be working with brokers, lenders and third party stakeholders to improve the situation over the coming months.
Mortgage Strategy

SA Advertising Research Foundation figures point to a big increase in black home ownership, says Rawson
Rawson - South Africa
When, on the many occasions over the last ten years or more that he has advised his franchisees, and potential property investors, to keep an eye on what is happening in the emerging black middle class market, he has often encountered a lack of interest but the latest figures from the SA Advertising Research Foundation, show that there has indeed been a marked rise in the earnings of a large number of black people, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of Rawson Properties, the multi-faceted national property marketing and development group with over 140 franchises.

"The Research Foundation," said Rawson, "use a system known as Living Standard Measures (LSMs). This ranks consumers into ten categories depending on the services available to them and the goods they own (other than food or clothing). In the lowest category, LSM1 people (for example those in some of our less attractive informal settlements) have only a radio and minimal access to services. In LSM2, they would have a stove and water on their plots. By the time they qualify as LSM5 they might have electricity, a TV, a DVD player, a refrigerator, an electric hotplate and a flush toilet. They would also be regular buyers of magazines and newspapers and have a cell phone, and might go occasionally to the cinema.

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